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Old 03-10-2009, 03:01 PM   #1
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Default Obama backs teacher merit pay/urges education reform

http://www.usatoday.com/news/educati...s_N.htm?csp=34

Quote:
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday embraced a new approach to education that would reward good teachers, remove limits on charter schools and lengthen both the school day and the school year.
These proposals, which constitute the heart of Obama's vision of 21st century education reform, were sure to generate loud criticism, particularly from teachers' union.

Educators oppose charter schools because they divert tax dollars away from traditional public schools. Merit-based systems for teachers have been anathema to the teachers' unions, a powerful force in Obama's Democratic Party, for many years.

Obama acknowledged that some of his proposals would be unpopular with both parties.

"Too many supporters of my party have resisted the idea of rewarding excellence in teaching with extra pay, even though we know it can make a difference in the classroom," he said, delivering the first major education speech of his presidency before a meeting of the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. "Too many in the Republican Party have opposed new investments in early education, despite compelling evidence of its importance."

But he argued that a far-reaching overhaul of the nation's education system is an economic imperative that can't wait despite the urgency of the financial crisis and other matters.


"Despite resources that are unmatched anywhere in the world, we have let our grades slip, our schools crumble, our teacher quality fall short, and other nations outpace us," he said. "The relative decline of American education is untenable for our economy, unsustainable for our democracy, and unacceptable for our children. We cannot afford to let it continue. What is at stake is nothing less than the American dream."
The ideas Obama promoted were nearly all elements of his presidential campaign platform last year. He only barely mentioned the reauthorization of the Bush-era No Child Left Behind Act, which introduced sweeping reforms that schools are struggling to meet without the funding to match. Obama said his administration would "later this year" ensure that schools get the funding they need and that the money is conditioned on results.
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washing...n_N.htm?csp=34

Quote:
WASHINGTON — President Obama outlined an ambitious education agenda on Tuesday that included the suggestion that states and local schools consider longer days and academic years.
"The challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom," Obama told the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in a speech with sweeping goals but few specifics.


The goals include improved early childhood education programs, higher standards in elementary and high schools, better teacher pay and recruitment, and expanded college aid programs.

Obama tied education reform to addressing the economic crisis, saying a better educated workforce will enhance the nation's long-term prosperity.

"Education is no longer just a pathway to opportunity and success, it is a prerequisite," Obama said.

In a 40-minute address, Obama outlined five general areas of education reform, including many proposals he made during his presidential campaign:

•Early childhood education. Obama pledged new "early learning challenge grants" to states for programs to help infants prepare for kindergarten, citing research that such programs can lead to better math and reading scores later on.

The recently signed stimulus bill includes $5 billion in new funds for Head Start and Early Head Start, Obama said. Overall, the $787 billion stimulus package includes $41 billion in total grants to local school districts.

•K-12 improvements.

Obama called for "world class standards" in math and science, as well as "21st Century skills" such as "problem-solving and critical thinking, entrepreneurship and creativity."

There should also be less differences between the 50 states when it comes to "benchmarks for academic success," Obama said. He said 4th grade readers in Mississippi are scoring nearly 70 points lower than students in Wyoming, yet both sets of students are getting the same grade.

Higher standards are the goal of the No Child Left Behind Act, the Bush administration's signature education initiative. Obama did not call for amending the No Child Left Behind law, but wants it to "live up to its name by ensuring not only that teachers and principals get the funding they need, but that the money is tied to results."

•Recruiting and keeping better teachers.

Obama again advocated merit pay for teachers, a proposal opposed by allies in the teachers unions and the Democratic Party. He also said states and school districts should take steps "to move bad teachers out of the classroom."

Citing some of the opposition, Obama said education has been hurt over the years by the "stale" political debates in Washington. He urged Democrats to support merit pay and said Republican should acknowledge a bigger government role in helping schools.

•Promoting innovation and excellence.

The idea would be to include more charter schools, another idea opposed by many Democrats. Obama called on states to lift caps on the number of charter schools, but also to shut down those that aren't working.

Obama also discussed his idea for a longer school calendar, noting that U.S. children spend a month less in school than their South Korean counterparts. "That is no way to prepare them for a 21st Century economy," he said.

The United States also needs to address an "epidemic" of rising drop-out rates, Obama said.

•Higher education.

Obama proposed increases in Pell grants, pegging them to annual inflation rates. He also cited a $2.5 billion program to help college students "persist and graduate," saying a college degree has never been more important than it is now.
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:05 PM   #2
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Default Re: Obama backs teacher merit pay/urges education reform

First off i LOVE teachers..

they should be paid on how good of a job they do, if they can not teach then they should find another job or find out why they are not getting there messag across.

and we need to cut way back on the admin side of schools and maybe hirer a few more teachers or pay the good ones.
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:40 PM   #3
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Default Re: Obama backs teacher merit pay/urges education reform

While I think it is great that Obama wants to reward teachers who display excellence and integrity, as they well should be rewarded, in light of that debacle of a stimulus package he just approved and signed which will put our children and grandchildrens' financial futures and stability in jeopardy, I find this statement just a wee bit hypocritical:

Quote:
What is at stake is nothing less than the American dream."
Go figure.
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:49 PM   #4
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Default Re: Obama backs teacher merit pay/urges education reform

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Originally Posted by HometownGal View Post
While I think it is great that Obama wants to reward teachers who display excellence and integrity, as they well should be rewarded, in light of that debacle of a stimulus package he just approved and signed which will put our children and grandchildrens' financial futures and stability in jeopardy, I find this statement just a wee bit hypocritical:



Go figure.
I agree. One thing I hope he doesn't do though is make the school day longer with all his "education reforms".
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Obama backs teacher merit pay/urges education reform

He is moving towards the middle with this plan.
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:50 PM   #6
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Default Re: Obama backs teacher merit pay/urges education reform

I agree our eductation system is a disaster. I think teachers should be graded just like their students are. I went through highschool and had some awful teachers, and now in college have the same problem. Our math department has something like a 85% drop rate in lower level math courses.
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Old 03-10-2009, 03:54 PM   #7
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Default Re: Obama backs teacher merit pay/urges education reform

I was actually on the fence for a while before the election.

(As a recently certified teacher) Obama's education plan broke the deadlock.
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Old 03-11-2009, 06:32 AM   #8
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Default Re: Obama backs teacher merit pay/urges education reform

I appreciate the teachers today. They definitely have a lot more struggles than teachers did back in the day I was in school.

Back then they could send you to the principal's office for a whoopin'. Now, you can't look at a child wrong or their parents want to sue you.

But I hope Obama does something about these standardized tests that are in place and allows the teachers to teach real, relevant, and reliable programs and not some pre-determined studies just so the kids can pass a test and move on without really gaining knowledge.

To all the teachers, you are also among the heroes of this country!
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Old 03-11-2009, 08:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: Obama backs teacher merit pay/urges education reform

Now if he ends tenure so bad teachers can be fired and allows for School Vouchers, to create competition in the public schooling system, I may actually give B.O. a thumbs up on this issue.
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Old 03-11-2009, 09:57 AM   #10
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Default Re: Obama backs teacher merit pay/urges education reform

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Originally Posted by Dino 6 Rings View Post
Now if he ends tenure so bad teachers can be fired and allows for School Vouchers, to create competition in the public schooling system, I may actually give B.O. a thumbs up on this issue.
I'm not sure ending tenure is a good idea. You could end up with a new school board firing qualified teachers and replacing them with campaign contributors and relatives.

Teachers can be fired for cause.
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